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Reflections Part 1: Justin

As we head into the new year of 2013, I look back into 2012 and am totally

Justin watching a storm coming in over Marquette

Justin watching a storm coming in over Marquette

amazed at the fact that I got through it without going crazy.

In all, though, I feel quite blessed. We really have some truly amazing friends here in Michigan, and some wonderful family. A few weeks ago as I was going through my typical end-of-the-year reflections, two things in particular stood out to me:

My gain in confidence this year.

And my husband.

I know I’ve mentioned Justin before, but I haven’t talked about him a ton, and it’s time to remedy that. Not because I feel like I have to brag about him, but because he deserves public acknowledgment.

He isn’t perfect, not by any means. He leaves piles of clothes on the floor and doesn’t put down the toilet seat and sometimes manages to make himself obnoxious. His potty humor knows no bounds. He has gotten himself called a ‘dork’ and a ‘hick’ many times this year.

Yet I don’t remember many of those times. Rather, what I remember are sweet

My nerdy guy in front of the TIV (tornado intercept vehicle) in Branson, MO

My nerdy guy in front of the TIV (tornado intercept vehicle) in Branson, MO

moments, little bits of selfless kindness that make me smile rather sappily when I think of them. Yes, I did just say that I get sappy. Don’t hold your breath–I won’t be admitting it again any time soon. 😉

Some of those moments were kind of silly, like the time I asked him to get salad dressing from the grocery store, and he came back with a kind I hadn’t had since I was a kid, but had told him about. Or the time he got turkey hot-dogs instead of regular hot-dogs, because he knows how much I hate regular hot-dogs. Or when he bought me a TARDIS mug and a sonic screwdriver pen for Christmas. Little things like that, that tell me exactly how well he knows me.

He has helped me build my confidence again this year. He encouraged me to go rock-climbing with my friend Elyse, and gave me the support I needed to beat my fear of heights. He taught me to drive a stick-shift so I could learn to drive a dirtbike.

He didn’t get too offended when I got grouchy after having a difficult time launching my kayak into a very wavy Lake Superior. He just floated by my side and let me snarl and work my frustration out for a while.

In the couple of days after Matthew was born, I kept waking up to a desperate, blind feeling of rage. The second day was the worst–I couldn’t feel anything but anger at everyone, though I tried to keep it bottled up inside so I wouldn’t hurt the family and friends that were gathering around us. At one point, I couldn’t do it any more. When Justin tried to give me a hug, I physically pushed him away, the first time I’ve ever done that to anyone in my life.

Justin wouldn’t let me go. He just held me tightly.

He has always held me tightly, trying to shelter and protect me. He did it many times this year when I woke up crying or screaming from nightmares in the middle of the night. I never heard a complaint the times he didn’t get enough sleep, or had to take a couple of hours off work to make sure I wasn’t going to have a panic attack.

It takes a lot to admit that I need him. I’ve always liked to think of myself as independent, and I heard many times this year that I was a “strong” woman. But I couldn’t be strong without Justin and God to lean on–without them I would have collapsed inside myself very early on this year.

Probably one of my most favorite memories of this year was Justin cradling our dear, t00-little Matthew to his chest and saying, “We didn’t pick out a middle name for him. Could we use my name? Could we do Isaiah?”

How many times has Justin, a very down-to-earth science-nerd, encouraged me to dream and at the same time kept my dreams as realistic as possible? How many times did he go out of his way to show me love, or to take care of me?

I do not understand how he does it. All I can do is smile as it reminds me of how selflessly God loved us, and try to return it.

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About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

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